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The impact of COVID-19 on tourism

Eliza Buglar

Sep 28, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic ravaged much of the world in 2020, impacting people, places and businesses. In particular, tourism has been one of the hardest-hit sectors as travel (both domestic and international) was brought to a grinding halt worldwide.

To see just how much the worth of tourism has changed from pre- to post-COVID, we analysed figures from the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC). By comparing the contribution of tourism towards each country’s GDP in 2019 and 2020, we can see just how much the pandemic has impacted each nation’s tourism and economic sector.

Hong Kong’s tourism and travel GDP took the biggest hit between 2019 and 2020, out of a selection of 45 countries. According to the WTTC’s data, the contribution of tourism and travel to the city’s GDP dropped by a dramatic 75% from 12% in 2019 to just three per cent in 2020.

Click through the tabs below to see the countries most and least affected.

Methodology

We consulted the Economic Impact Reports from the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) for various countries, narrowing it down to 45 and ensuring representation from all continents. These reports include the “total contribution of travel and tourism to GDP” as a percentage figure of the country’s total economy for both 2019 and 2020.

We then used a spreadsheet formula to calculate the year-on-year difference between the 2019 and 2020 GDP figures as a percentage decrease.

Sources

Tourism worth as percentage of GDP and in USD
World Travel & Tourism Council – Economic Impact Reports (various countries). March 2021. Accessed July 2021.

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